Tuesday 30 September 2014

True gratitude is Heaven - From Thomas Traherne

It was His wisdom made you need the Sun. It was His goodness made you need the sea. Be sensible of what you need, or enjoy neither. Consider how much you need them, for thence they derive their value. Suppose the sun were extinguished: or the sea were dry. There would be no light, no beauty, no warmth, no fruits, no flowers, no pleasant gardens, feasts, or prospects, no wine, no oil, no bread, no life, no motion. Would you not give all the gold and silver in the Indies for such a treasure? Prize it now you have it, at that rate, and you shall be a grateful creature: Nay, you shall be a Divine and Heavenly person. For they in Heaven do prize blessings when they have them. They in Earth when they have them prize them not, they in Hell prize them when they have them not.
They are deep instructions that are taken out of hell, and heavenly documents that are taken from above. Upon Earth we learn nothing but vanity. Where people dream, and loiter, and wander, and disquiet themselves in vain, to make a vain show; but do not profit because they prize not the blessings they have received. To prize what we have is a deep and heavenly instruction. It will make us righteous and serious, wise and holy; divine and blessed. It will make us escape Hell and attain Heaven, for it will make us careful to please Him from whom we have received all, that we may live in Heaven.
Wants are the bands and cements between God and us. Had we not wanted we could never have been obliged. Whereas now we are infinitely obliged, because we want infinitely. From Eternity it was requisite that we should want. We could never else have enjoyed anything: Our own wants are treasures. And if want be a treasure, sure everything is so. Wants are the ligatures between God and us, the sinews that convey Senses from him into us, whereby we live in Him, and feel His enjoyments. For had we not been obliged by having our wants satisfied, we should not have been created to love Him. And had we not been created to love Him, we could never have enjoyed His eternal Blessedness.

Thomas Traherne (1636?-1674)- Centuries of Meditations 



Note: Perhaps we are incarnated so as to have needs, and made mortal so they are sharper and more pressing? Our wants are, properly, ligatures to God and our fellow Men. We must choose our basic stance and attitude concerning Life: gratitude for our blessings, or resentment for their incompleteness. Choose to be happy in Life - or odious:

The misery of them who have and prize not, differeth from others, who prize and have not. The one are more odious and, less sensible; more foolish, and more vicious: the senses of the other are exceeding keen and quick upon them; yet are they not so foolish and odious as the former. The one would be happy and cannot, the other may be happy and will not. The one are more vicious, the other more miserable. But how can that be? Is not he most miserable that is most vicious? Yes, that is true. But they that prize not what they have are dead; their senses are laid asleep, and when they come to Hell they wake: And then. they begin to feel their misery. He that is most odious is most miserable, and he that is most perverse is most odious.  

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